Streaming Media West 2006 Keynote #1: AOL Video's Tim Tuttle

We all want to know what the future of streaming media will be, and AOL video VP Tim Tuttle shared his thoughts on "The Next Wave for Online Video" in the opening keynote of Streaming Media West 2006 in San Jose today. To give the audience a perspective on where the industry is going, he shared several awe-inspiring facts: 10 billion videos streamed every month, $60 billion market opportunity, and internet video doubling every six months. Tuttle said that just two years ago he was pitching video-sharing ideas to VCs who were scoffing at the notion that billions of videos would be streamed online every month. Tuttle assured the audience that "this is just the beginning. This industry is in for a world of change."

Tim Tuttle

He shared what he sees as the four contributing factors to the massive surge in popularity and predicted continued growth for online video. The first is that consumers love to watch videos online. He said sarcastically that only the guy in the cubicle next to you watches video online, but quickly came back to reality. "Well, over half of internet users watch online video multiple times a month", he said. Whether it’s a video on the blog that an internet surfer just stumbles across or an email link from friends, more and more folks are sharing and watching video online.

The second contributing factor to the growth of online video is the content creator who loves finding ways to share videos. New delivery methods mean direct access to people who are interested in viewing your video. Tuttle claimed that content producers are streaming seven billion videos a month.

The third factor that has caused this growth is advertisers. Hungry for new ways to interact with consumers, advertisers are paying huge amounts--$25-35 CPM, according to Tuttle--and getting exact measurements on who’s watching and what they are watching. This is one of the areas that is actually pumping revenue back into the R&D for online video and showing a profit.

Fourth and finally, changes in technology are spurring the rapid acceleration in online video. Cheap hardware, open-source software, widespread broadband adoption, and a culture that is more open to embracing new technology have all created a boom in internet-delivered video. All this also leads to the proliferation of high-quality, easy-to-use and easy-to-share online video.

And all these converging factors have led to the next wave of online video: search. Tuttle is convinced that the next generation of online video will be a one-stop shop website that will let you search and find relevant content. Obviously, with the problem of effective, personalized video search still very far from being solved, this realization may be several years away, but he asserted that it will be here sooner than later. There are issues still lurking with video search, and several of the attendee questions revealed the industry’s desire for standards on how to tag, organize, and find videos. Until this industry standard is formalized, we will still be struggling to find our favorite clips of The Daily Show and Mentos/Diet Coke bottle rockets easily. executive vice president Dan Rayburn summed it up very nicely in his introduction: "Defining our success will help us to navigate this new wave of online video." If success is more people watching, sharing, and finding more videos, then we are on the right path.

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